When you stepped outside of your regular everyday life to attend a CREDO conference, you stepped onto fruitful soil for motivation. CREDO offers an environment characterized by shared focus, enthusiasm, trust, hope, and the opportunity to generate specific plans. CREDO conferences provide a safe space for reflecting deeply, where motivation can grow unencumbered throughout the week. Perhaps you began the week feeling as if motivation was barely on the horizon. Then the CREDO experience guided you toward envisioning the life that would emerge from your CREDO Rule of Life.
During your time at CREDO, your inner vision changed.
Motivation always starts with vision—believing in something that cannot yet be seen, touched, heard, felt, or lived. When the vision is compelling and desire for the realization of the vision is strong, we are ready to move forward with intention to make the vision a reality.
Motivation is nothing more than being impelled to make forward progress. Rather, it is linked to what we believe possible and want for our lives.
After you return home from your CREDO conference, motivation can wane for a number of reasons. Just living life in your normal context can steal some motivation away - not because there is anything inherently bad or even difficult about your context, but simply because you are further removed from the original vision that first birthed the excitement and subsequent motivation.
As time passes, and the vision becomes more distant, motivation is harder to claim. Although we can easily begin to feel guilty or berate ourselves for our lack of persistence, we would be better served to take some specific steps that will place us back into the space where motivation can be re-ignited and flourish.
Seven Strategies for Increasing Motivation
The first important strategy in regaining a healthy measure of motivation is to revisit the reason for the motivation in the first place. It may help to visualize the place, the people, and the feelings that surrounded you then.
What was so important to you that your energy for forward progress rose? Close your eyes and simply steep yourself in remembering. Let your emotions gather around the vision. Imagine why you thought it would make a difference. This re-engagement with the vision will almost always restore some part of the motivation that was present at the first.
Scan your inner and outer environment to see where your vision may be vulnerable. The real world we live in—with all of its expectations, demands, and responsibilities—is never as simple as we imagined when the vision first burst forth. Some quick and honest answers to these questions may be helpful:
“Am I lacking motivation because..."
- I need more knowledge about the vision or what is required to bring it to fruition?
- I’m hesitant about putting forth the effort that is required?
- The vision itself is wrong or misguided?
- I need more courage to take the risks that may be necessary?
- I’m suffering or am in stress in some other area of my life, and that takes energy away from the vision?
- I’m no longer certain about the goodness or usefulness of the vision?
- I hear my inner censor telling me I can’t do it, or that God’s help won’t be there?
Simply identifying the source of the missing motivation may be exactly what is needed to refresh it.
A visualization exercise can help you determine how committed you are now to your vision:
- Close your eyes and imagine the vision in detail.
- Imagine the features that make it important and useful.
- Imagine how things would change if it were realized.
- Imagine the struggles that might occur between first starting out and accomplishing what you set out to do.
- After a few minutes of mentally inhabiting the vision, pretend to dismiss it. Imagine moving on to other things. Think about what that is like. How do you feel? What is the result around you? How do things change or not change because of your abandonment of the vision? Are you happy with the outcome?
This particular strategy has the great benefit of helping to solidify (or not) the vision and the motivation that will be necessary for its fulfillment. If you find that your emotions are charred by the relinquishment of the vision, you will also find your motivation surging, so that something important isn’t lost. If you have no particular emotions of sadness, or even wistfulness, when you set aside the vision, then your lack of motivation may be a sign that you need to explore an alternative vision.
Sometimes it’s beneficial to give yourself the freedom to be unmotivated. You may have been pushing yourself too hard, expecting too much. You may be under some external stress that is unattached to the vision, are overwhelmed by some emotion or responsibility, or are weary. If your vision is still relevant, then a small break will not impede your progress. It may, in fact, actually speed it along. Taking a break for a designated amount of time can be part of the work you do toward fulfilling your vision.
We often hold back our celebration until the complete and full realization of a vision. Yet, all the little steps along the way should be celebrated; without the discrete steps, the full goal can’t be achieved. When you celebrate small steps, you actually re-enforce your commitment to the vision. In the act of celebrating, you remember and etch the vision more firmly in your soul.
Sharing your vision with someone you love and trust reinforces your commitment to your vision. Perhaps a member of your CREDO small group or another CREDO colleague could be helpful in helping you regain a sense of energy and passion. A trusted person can often point out possibilities that may have been missed or make suggestions that spark a renewed interest and excitement for what has been envisioned.
Rather than a sign of failure, lack of motivation is a sign that the vision needs to be remembered, and perhaps re-evaluated or re-imagined. It is a sign that other factors in our lives may be complicating our ability to stay motivated. It is a sign that we need to ground ourselves again in what is important to us. The lapses of motivation that will inevitably flit across our field of energy can actually foster fruitfulness and inhibit failure.
Sometimes when motivation seems absent, all we need to do is spend a few moments with Jesus. In the presence of the Divine One, we too may hear his words, “Stand up, take up your mat, and walk.” Like the man at the pool, we just may do it, and find our wholeness is restored.
Tips & Resources - Motivation
Listen to a Meditation for Motivation by Renée Miller.